PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Resource Guide Extreme Temperatures

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Dings Undone: Coating Heals Itself

Monday, April 25, 2011

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

A new polymer that heals itself within seconds under light offers a future vision of cars, floors and other coated surfaces free of scratches, scuffs and dings.

“This is ingenious and transformative materials research,” said Andrew Lovinger, polymers program director at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research, which helped fund the effort. 

“We came up with this idea to basically develop a coating, that if it was scratched, you could simply take out a light and heal the scratch,” Dr. Stuart Rowan explains in a video and simulation about the research he is leading at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The ‘Eureka!’ Moment

The new material—known as “metallo-supramolecular polymers”—was an unexpected outgrowth of research that Rowan’s engineering team was pursuing. As a “quick experiment,” the team took a razor blade to the material in development, then put it under a UV light. Within 30 seconds, Rowan said, the scratch disappeared.

“That was the ‘Eureka!’ moment,” he said in the video. “That was when [we thought] ‘Wow, we’ve got something really cool here.’” 

The project also involves researchers at the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, led by Christoph Weder; and the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, led by Rick Beyer.
 
 Case Western Reserve University

 Images: Case Western Reserve University

Under UV light, similar to that used by dentists to cure fillings, the scratch healed in less than 30 seconds.

Their work, detailed in the April 21 issue of the journal Nature, shows how the polymer-based material becomes liquid and fills in the gaps of scrapes and scratches when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Polymers with a ‘Napoleon Complex’

Unlike conventional polymers, which consist of long, chain-like molecules with thousands of atoms, these materials are composed of smaller molecular chains, which are assembled into longer chains. The chains disassemble on exposure to light, then reassemble and solidify with the original properties restored when the light is turned off.

Using lamps such as those dentists use to cure fillings, the researchers repaired scratches in their polymers. Wherever they waved the light beam, the scratches filled up and disappeared. Moreover, repeated injuries did not seem to affect the material’s durability. Tests showed the materials could be repeatedly scratched and heal in the same location.
 
 Dr. Stuart Rowan
The next step is to develop industrial coatings that harness the technology, says Dr. Stuart Rowan.

“These polymers have a Napoleon Complex,” says Rowan, a professor of macromolecular engineering and science and director of Case Western’s Institute for Advanced Materials. “In reality they're pretty small but are designed to behave like they're big by taking advantage of specific weak molecular interactions.”

Coatings Development 

The scientists envision a wide variety of future applications and say that discussions with manufacturers are already underway to bring the concept to market.

Said Rowan: “One of our next steps is to use the concepts we have shown here to design a coating that would be more applicable in an industrial setting.”

   

Tagged categories: Polymers; Research

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

International Paint LLC

International Paint Engineered Coatings

Learn about our solutions for:
  • Structural Steel
  • Piping & Equipment
  • Storage Tanks
  • Pressure Vessels
  • Secondary Containment


    Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
    Performance Amine 1,3-BAC

    A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.


    Sherwin-Williams
    Nova-Plate® 325

    • Extends Service Life
    • Single Coat Application
    • Cure to Service in 24 Hours


    Polyval Coatings
    Polyflex® Polyurea Linings

    exhibit outstanding versatility in use; providing abrasion resistance, superior seamless waterproofing and high-chem corrosion protection. www.polyflexlinings.com


    Wasser High-Tech Coatings Inc.
    Wasser Coatings Protect

    some of the most important bridges in the country; learn about our NEPCOAT-approved system and our entire range of MCU & Polyurea coatings. 1-800-627-2968 www.wassercoatings.com


    BASF
    New resins from BASF will have metals loving water:

    Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films basf.us/industrialcoatings
    polyorders@basf.com
    800-231-7868


    Axxiom Manufacturing
    Revolutionary Units

    By integrating Schmidt's Aftercoolers with our blast pots, these systems remove moisture from air and minimize equipment footprint on jobsite.
    Call 1-800-231-2085

  •  
     
     
    Technology Publishing

    The Technology Publishing Network

    The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
    Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

     
    EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
    REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
    MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
     

    © Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
    2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com